This is just in! Blizzard posted an official Battle Plan after 4 years since they last released a plan.
It is a perfect time to catch everybody on the latest happenings since Wrath was launched AND we are on the eve of the most extensive expansion of WoW. Here are few interesting bits of news:
1. Cataclysm’s Kalimdor content is basically finished. “Much of Eastern Kingdoms” is completed.
2. After the upcoming events to retake Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles, all level one gnomes and trolls will start in the newly-reclaimed areas!
3. Database hardware upgrades will be put into place to ensure that the Cataclysm launch goes as smoothly as possible.
Go over the Battle Plan post below:
Wrath of the Lich King hit store shelves November 13, 2008 and quickly became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. Since its release, we’ve continued to expand on its content and tell the story of the Lich King and many others who have been touched by the Scourge’s emergence in Azeroth. From the initial release of World of Warcraft to The Burning Crusade, and then again with Wrath of the Lich King, we have steadily learned, grown, and have pushed ourselves to become better designers, and we’d like to take a moment to share with you some of the development team’s recent highlights, as well as a glimpse into the future. As our mission statement says, we continue striving to provide the most epic entertainment experiences ever.
The Rise and Fall the Lich King
After feedback from the community indicated some disappointment with being unable to interact more directly with the story surrounding Illidan, we made a concerted effort to reconnect everyone with the story of the Lich King and the struggles of Azeroth against the Scourge. From the moment of entry into Northrend, the story began to play out, and the heroes of Azeroth were asked to take on the challenge the Lich King and the Scourge presented them.
Players were able to experience Naxxramas as a level-80 dungeon and face down another of the Old Gods, Yogg Saron in Ulduar. In order to better prepare for the trials facing them in Icecrown Citadel, the Argent Crusade set up camp in Icecrown to hold a tournament meant to hone Azeroth’s finest heroes into a force the Lich King couldn’t afford to ignore.
Today, thousands of players continue to enter into the Icecrown Citadel to face one of the most feared villains in Warcraft history. We’ve seen the rise of Arthas to the Frozen Throne as the Lich King and we’ve seen his fall at the hands of the greatest champions of Azeroth.
In order to get more players into these encounters, we improved upon what was once known as the Looking for Group system and transformed it into the Dungeon Finder System. Within the system, players have been able to get together with each other from all over their battlegroup and reap additional rewards that have helped them get the gear they need to venture into Icecrown Citadel and take part in an event that has been the culmination of seven years of story.
We also implemented our Quest Tracking feature, dual spec support, updated badge and reward system and much more.
The end of the Lich King is not the end of our plans for World of Warcraft, however, and the story carries on.
The Ruby Sanctum
Within Wyrmrest Temple are the chambers of the aspects and a new 10- and 25-player raid dungeon currently in development, the Ruby Sanctum. Here players will encounter the Black Dragonflight as they make an assault on the Red Dragonflight in a bid to weaken them before their master Deathwing’s reemergence into Azeroth out of the fiery depths of Deepholm. This encounter will be similar to the Obsidian Sanctum and grant all-new rewards for players looking for a new challenge.
With so many epic adventures to partake in within Northrend, the community asked, “What’s next?” We answered at last year’s BlizzCon, “Cataclysm.”
As we announced at last year’s BlizzCon, we’ve been hard at work on our third expansion, Cataclysm. This new expansion advances the story of Azeroth and introduces new content for both beginning and end-game players. It will introduce two new races, new dungeons, new class and race combinations, and a change to the very face of Azeroth as we know it.
Two New Races
In the expansion we will be introducing goblins into the Horde, as they begin their journey in their homeland, the Isle of Kezan. Meanwhile, behind the Greymane wall, the fate of the people of Gilneas will be revealed at last as they join the Alliance as worgen.
Each race will have its own unique starting zones in which players will get to know the story of these two races. As a part of the story progression, the land itself will be changing via phasing to enhance the experience.
The World Trembles
Much of Azeroth will be changing as a result of Deathwing’s eruption from Deepholme deep within Azeroth. We have been making great progress and have nearly finished all of our expected changes in Kalimdor and much of Eastern Kingdoms. Some areas will still be familiar, while others will be more drastically transformed.
In addition to the changes to familiar territories, we are also currently working on adding great new high-level content zones such as Mount Hyjal and the Sunken City of Vashj’ir.
The gnomes have been long without a home to call their own. As a young gnome you are told that the benevolent dwarves who have taken you in will aid you in your bid to grow strong so that you might reclaim Gnomeregan once more.
To that end, we are introducing a new quest line and event by which players can take part in taking the first steps to do just that by recapturing Gnomeregan’s surface and reclaiming a small portion of their former home. Once this area has been reclaimed, all new gnomes will start in this reclaimed territory.
We are also currently working on a new quest line and event by which players can take part in joining with Vol’jin, leader of the trolls, in the taking of the Echo Isles from Zalazane, who now controls these islands.
Once the islands have been claimed in the name of the Darkspear tribe, all new trolls will begin within their own starting zone and begin reforging the troll nation into a semblance of its former glory.
With the addition of so many great new features, we wanted to make sure that our infrastructure was in place to fully support them. To that end, we will be performing additional database hardware upgrades prior to the release of Cataclysm. This will allow all players to experience this new expansion as intended.
While we do not have specific dates to share at this point in time, we will be working to communicate when these upgrades occur to ensure the best possible experiences during this time and continuing into the future.
Shamans, in World of Warcraft, are a hybrid class of melee and spellcaster. If there is a class role in World of Warcraft, then the Shaman is capable of it. The title Jack-of-all trades, master of none applies to both Druids and Shaman. However, where a Druid shapeshifts into different forms - Bears to tank, cats to do damage, natural form to heal/nuke, Shamans have the ability to do all of this equally well at the same time. Shamans may not be able to tank as well as a druid in bear form, or heal as well as a druid not shapeshifted, but they can do both at the same time. Generally though, in a group, the role of a Shaman is going to be that of a supplemental Healer. When the Priest dies, the Shaman will still be there to rez, if the Priest runs out of Mana, the Shaman will be there to continue healing. When not healing the Shaman is a vital front line combatant in groups. They have the ability to reduce the amount of damage coming in or increase the damage of the group, prevent people from being sleeped, and interrupting spellcasters, all while doing in theredecent damage themselves. All of this while not being paper thin cloth wearers like Priests or Mages. If a Shaman gains aggro from healing or nuking too much, they have enough hitpoints and Armor to take some beating. While you wouldn’t want a Shaman to tank for a group in a High-End Instance, it certainly lets them stay alive a bit longer when things go bad.
Picking the Race
Shaman are limited to the Horde, and can be either Orc, Troll, or Tauren. Each race has specific strengths, especially now that Racial Traits are in-game.
Orcs have Battle Rage, the ability to raise their strength, thereby increasing their damage. This comes at a penalty to their hitpoints, use with caution. They also have an Axe Proficiency, essentially this allows the Shaman to swing an axe as if they were 1 level higher than they are. Their stun resistance, while not much could mean the difference between life and death.
Tauren have extra hitpoints keeping them alive longer and the addition of war-stomp to further stop a spellcaster from casting (in addition to their shock of earth spell). Their Nature resistance will help against the multitude of spells directed at them from natural sources, mostly druid and Shaman spells.
Trolls also have nice racial abilities, Berserking will allow them to cast their spells faster (and melee faster) when they need it the most, when they are lowest in hitpoints. Their Health Regeration will help keep them topped off from the hits here and there they are bound to receive. Beast slaying will help against the large number of beasts in the game. Even in areas with many humanoid and elemental monsters a few beasts are sure to abound.
Stat wise, all races start out similiarly. Tauren having 2 more strength will maybe give them 1 extra damage per hit, and Trolls with 2 extra spirit perhaps a tiny bit faster health and mana regen. However, these differences are so small, they really don’t need to be considered when selecting your race.
Shaman spells are arranged into 3 categories; Enhancement, Restoration, and Elemental Combat. Enhancement spells are what help the Melee in your group, including yourself, hit harder or take less damage per fight, this also includes some utility spells such as Ghost Wolf which enables you to run faster while outdoors. Restoration is your healing powers, which also include mana regeneration abilities and rezzes. Elemental combat, comprises your damage abilities, ranging from lightning bolts to magma totems.
Specifically of note, in enhancement abilities is your lightning shield and weapon buffs. The lightning shield is generally unresistable, and extremely mana efficient. Additionally, it lasts for 10 minutes, Definatly something to have hotkeyed to be casting all the time. The weapon buffs, such as Rockbiter or Flametongue are also amazingly mana efficient in terms of how much extra damage you do per point of mana. Rockbiter has the added benefit(sometimes hinderance) of grabbing alot of aggro. On top of a class that is quite capable of doing good dps with melee and spells combined, the extra aggro can really help keep mobs off the lesser equipped priests and warlocks.
Restoration spells are fairly basic, there is a fast heal for small amounts of damage, and a slower heal that heals significant amounts. Throughout most of your “Shamanistic” life you will be healing the same as a priest 5-6 levels lower than you. Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices to wear tougher armor. In addition to healing, Shaman have the abilities to cure both poisons and diseases.
Elemental combat is one of the greatest strengths of the Shaman’s spell lineup. In addition to our lightning spells, both regular and chain lightning, Shamans come with the Shock Line of spells, they may not be terribly mana efficient, but they are instant cast. Earth shock can instantly interrupt a spell caster and additionally prevent that person from casting any different spell in that same school for an additional 2 seconds. This is great for those annoying caster mobs that like to stand back in the distance and just chain nuke. Flame Shock is just pure unadulterated good damage. Our Ice Shock is a second way to snare in order to prevent a fleeing enemy. Having a second source of snare will undoubtedly save the lives of your group many times over during the duration of your gameplay.
Shaman start out with the ability to wear leather equipment. Usually you will want to stick with leather, although there are rare exceptions when the stat boosts of a piece of cloth gear is much better than any other leather peices available that cloth actually becomes worthy of wearing. However, please don’t mistake this as an invitation to roll against cloth wearers. They can ONLY wear cloth. Please be considerate. Shamans additionally gain the ability to wear Mail starting at level 40. This helps fortify them compared to the rogues and druids of the world, but don’t start thinking you’re going to tank the same as a Warrior or Paladin.
Speaking of totems, the totem is what seperates Shaman from every other casting class in WoW. Totem spells are unique in that instead of simply casting a spell, the Shaman will lay down a totem which will set off the effect. There are 4 totems. Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. In order to use a totem spell, you must first have the appropriate totem. The Earth Category includes the strength buffs and the dmg reduction type spells. Fire includes damaging abilities, from a fire nova type big explosion to a constant barrage of lower damaging fireballs. Water totems are the healing and regenerative type. While Air totems have effects such as absorbing magical spells, allowing extra swings to process or raising your party’s agility. The one thing in common to all totems is that if used properly they can be very mana efficient.
Totems are obtained via various quests; Call of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air respectively. Once you have completed the quest to obtain that totem, you are then free to use any totem spell utilizing that particular totem. For example, once you get the Water Totem you are able to use all the water totem abilities like Healing Stream, Mana Stream, and Fire resistance. You will have to carry these 4 totems around in your inventory, however, they never “run out” or “have to be recharged“.
Talent Points for the Shaman class fall into 3 areas, similiar to their spell lines. They can focus on their enhancement abilities, further enhancing their tanking and melee damage dealing abilities. Restoration, to help them heal much better, for example when you are the only healer in an instance. And Elemental Combat, which improves your spell damage capabilities. Ultimately where you spend your points will make a difference in how you can play your character. A fully restoration specced character could very well function as a sole healer in a lot of grouping situations. A Fully Enhancement based Shaman would be able to tank most non “uber” monsters, and with the proper equipment, can dish out good consistent melee damage. However, if one were to specialize in doing additional magical damage, the additional burst damage would be noticable. While there is no “correct” way for playing a Shaman, assigning your talent points to the things you enjoy the most about your Shaman will help you enjoy your character fully. Get more tips of shaman talents builds.
Against lower or equal leveled single opponents, a Shaman is fearsome to behold. Pulling with 2 lightnings can often leave a mob at close to 66% Health before it even reaches you (depending on levels of course). Open up with Melee, while your totems are layed out around you, along with your lightning shield and you’ve already done another significant chunk to the enemy’s health. lay down a Flame Shock, and as your shocks refreshes the mob will be running or already close to it, at which point you can cast a frost shock to stop it dead in it’s tracks.
Here, you will have much more freedom on how to plan your actions, If your group is low on melee, you can get in there and duke it out much like solo play. However if your group is low on healers you have the ability to stay back and watch peoples health, being careful to watch to prevent runners. This is where your totems really shine, while it is beneficial to raise your own strength for a small amount of mana. When you raise the strength of every melee and pet in your party you have greatly multiplied how much damage is being done to the mobs.
Shaman begin the game with the ability to use either 1 hand maces (and a shield) or a staff. Through the various Weapons Masters, Shaman can also train daggers, axes, and fist weapons (Not currently very many of these in the game). Additionally through a point in the third teir of enhancement, Shaman can learn 2-handed axes and maces. Sometimes you will find a 2h axe or mace that’s much nicer than a Staff. This will enable you to do the extra dps that you should be doing if you aren’t holding a shield. However, if you are taking a beating, A shield can help block a decent portion of the damage you are taking. While it isn’t going to make you into a warrior, it can help mitigate a small amount of the damage, and that could make a difference in a close fight. However, doing extra damage can also end a fight a little bit quicker as well.
Shaman in PVP
Shaman have many abilities that definatly help out in a pvp environment. Keeping your buddies alive longer will help keep you alive longer. Ghost Wolf With 2 talent points invested gives you a 1 second cast 40% movement buff. Not only will this help get you out of tight spots, both PVE and PVP, but also allow you to chase down those runners. Purge is another great spell, stripping away the buffs of your enemies can really make a difference, especially in close fights. Priest Stamina Buffs alone can add hundreds of Hitpoints. You can, in effect, cause hundreds of points of damage instantly. Shaman are not “paper thin”, they have the ability to take a little bit of a beating. While this won’t let you stand toe to toe against a rogue and just stand there. It will allow you time to get the heck out of dodge. Finally, the windfury weapon proc, which causes “spotty” damage in pve, is the perfect weapon in pvp, where you need all your damage to go ALL AT ONCE, or they’ll simply be able to retreat and get healed. While you may have to wait a bit for it to proc, this can also lull the enemy into thinking they aren’t taking much of a beating, and then WHAM they go from 40% health to instantly dead when you proc and cast an instant shock spell at the same time.
Draenei is not hard to like especially when its history has been incorporated into the game in equal tragic, epic, and inspiring parts. Not many races in the universe can be said to have survived the personal attentions of Kil’jaeden the Deceiver for tens of thousands of years. Even now, after the near total genocide of the orcish Horde, the draenei endure.
The not-so-good thing is the steering Naaru dimensional ships. They’ve crashed two, one becoming the mountain Oshu’gun (ironically one of the orcs most sacred sites before they fell to darkness and corruption is a crashed Naaru vessel) and the most recent being the Exodar section of the Naaru fortress seized by Kael’Thas Sunstrider and renamed Tempest Keep.
Who exactly are the draenei? Let’s go back 25,000 years ago. No draenei exist 25,000 or so years ago, given the word draenei means “exiles” in the language of the eredar or the people who rose to civilization on the world of Argus. The eredar looked similar to the draenei. They were prodigiously gifted, strong, intelligent and naturally capable of learning to channel magical energy of any variety. The abilities they possess came handy when they built a society that lasted for thousands of years. It turned out to be marvelous that it even drew the attention of the titan Sargeras.
Unfortunately, this was after Sargeras had decided that his fellow titans and their whole “let’s go from world to world changing things to be the way we would like them to be’ deal was pointless and futile. Anger and resentment built up in the former champion of the Pantheon until he stalked away from his fellows, abandoning his purpose as a defender of their works and instead choosing to work against them. So resolved, he began building a mighty war host to take his war of total destruction across the myriad worlds studded like gems throughout the Great Dark Beyond. Races like the Annihilan (Pit Lords) made excellent shock troops, and the Nathrezim were perfect spies and infiltrators, but what Sargeras needed were generals. Beings who could lead his forces, who were naturally powerful, strong, and intelligent enough to guide and direct a universal crusade of total destruction. And on Argus, he found the eredar.
At the time the eredar were effectively lead by a triumvirate. Even today, their descendants the draenei often break into such groups to deal with tasks of importance. The eredar leadership consisted of Archimonde, Kil’Jaeden, and Velen. When Sargeras first appeared to them, still clad in his glorious presence as one of the titans, both Archimonde and Kil’jaeden were very interested in his offer of even greater power and a role of responsibility and leadership in his vast new undertaking. To travel the many worlds, see things no eredar had ever experienced before, wield power on a scale undreamt of! Only Velen, of the three, was hesitant. He didn’t have any concrete reason to reject Sargeras’ offer,and thus no real objection he could make to his friend Kil’jaeden, but something about the titan seemed wrong to Velen and his suspicions gnawed away at him.
A vision Velen saw of the truth… of Sargeras’ supposedly benevolence exposed for the mad desire for destruction that it was, and the eredar twisted into loathsome parodies of themselves as they wreaked destruction and havoc in Sargeras’ name… led to contact with the Naaru K’ure and gave Velen both the resolve and the means to flee Argus. The Naaru instructed Velen to gather his followers and retreat to the highest mountain on Argus, and retrieved the Prophet and his followers just before servants of Kil’jaeden and Archimonde (who had taken Sargeras up on his offer) nearly destroyed them.
It is this event that made them ‘draenei’, or exiles. From this moment, one race became two, with the eredar servants of dread Sargeras known as ‘man’ari’ by their former kin. In time the eredar of the Burning Legion would even embrace the word man’ari (meaning foulness or corruption) and use it to refer to themselves proudly. Every modern draenei must live with this knowledge, that his or her greatest enemies are also his or her former people, that the darkness has demonstrated it can corrupt even their closest kin. That it can corrupt anyone, even the mightiest of their people… even Archimonde and Kil’jaeden fell prey to its insidious influence. Only Velen escaped their fate, and only Velen led the remaining one third of their people away from Argus.
For thousands of years the following pattern repeated itself: Velen and the Naaru would find a new world for the draenei to settle on, only to be discovered by agents of Kil’jaeden who had taken Velen’s decision as a personal affront (in great part due to their previously strong friendship - Kil’jaeden is said to have viewed Velen as a brother, or even more than a brother, almost another aspect of himself in Rise of the Horde) and who would not allow them to escape. Over and over again Velen had to use his prophetic gifts and the aid of the Naaru to escape Kil’jaeden and the Legion, who had only grown in numbers and power over the years. Finally, through a combination of luck and their combined abilities, they arrived on a world that would come to be named Draenor, or ‘Exile’s Refuge’ in ereduin.
This world was a relatively pleasant one, quiet, with a variety of flora and fauna making it suitable for the draenei to live but without any real reason for the Legion to seek it out. It was inhabited by a race of intelligent beings who lived in a semi-nomadic hunter/gatherer clan structure. As each people had little the other wanted or understood, conflicts were rare among them, although it did puzzle the draenei to see their crash site become a holy site to the orcs. Velen himself mourned his friend entombed within the gleaming mountain and set forth to lead his people on their new world, and for uncounted centuries the two races existed in a state of wary peace. The orcs had other things to worry about like ogres and gronn, while the draenei lived relatively free of those concerns in cities like Shattrah or Telmor, which was protected by a powerful crystal artifact.
This was the cycle of life on Draenor for millennia. Fingers can be pointed here at draenei complacency, although to me that’s a touch unfair. Still, it can’t be denied that after thousands upon thousands of years of running from demonic maniacs who used to be their friends and neighbors, the draenei as a whole just wanted to have a place to call their own. They didn’t react as quickly to the orcs and their sudden bellicose stand as they could have: having once hosted a young Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer, Velen was under the impression that the up and coming orc leadership was admirable and could be negotiated with. Unfortunately he failed to grasp the true extent of the hostility that Kil’jaeden had created, nor did he know its ultimate source. Had he seen the hand of his old enemy, it might not have mattered, for with K’ure entombed within Oshu’gun the draenei lacked a ready means of escape. Velen made the mistake of attempting to visit K’ure’s resting place at this time, which only agitated the orcs further (and led with the Prophet being briefly held captive by the Frostwolf chieftain Durotan, who held Nagrand at that time).
The fall of Ner’zhul and the rise of Gul’dan ended any chance for peace between orc and draenei, and Durotan’s betrayal of the means by which draenei had brought him and Doomhammer into Telmor sealed that city’s fate, as demon blood addicted orcs slaughtered the inhabitants. While the draenei did not go quietly… their mastery of arcane power, the Holy Light first shown to them by the Naaru, and natural size and strength allowed them to fight effectively and the orcish dependence on the spirits meant that as they took actions the spirits disapproved of, their power waned…. Gul’dan quickly set about replacing waning shamanistic power with warlock magics that the draenei were not equipped to resist en masse. Eventually, even Shattrath City fell. Gul’dan set up camp in the former Temple of Karabor, Velen’s own private sancturary, and transformed it into the Black Temple.
This unchecked, unjustified, and rapacious violence was the result of Kil’jaeden taking advantage of the aggressive hunter mentality of the orcs and magnifying it first with paranoid and suspicion and later with demon blood taken from an Annihilan, Mannoroth. While these elements were already present (hey, you try fending off ogres and gronn with good looks, it takes some significant whacking with big, heavy objects to keep those dudes off your back) it was the culmination of Gul’dan’s manipulation that convinced so many to willingly enslave themselves to demons. The complete slaughter, the genocide waged upon the draenei was Kil’jaeden’s goal, but it was an afterthought to Gul’dan, something he engaged in merely to cement his own power.
As the orcs fell to squabbling and Draenor, poisoned by fel corruption, began to become unlivable, the few remaining draenei gathered together in hidden refuges placed in regions no one would really want like Zangarmarsh. Velen had been forced to allow himself to be protected and removed from the major centers of draenei life as they fell, forced to watch as his followers were slaughtered in vast amounts. Now some of the draenei were finding themselves changed by the fel energies unleashed by heedless orc warlocks.
Unfortunately, the draenei did not respond to this new problem with the equanimity one might hope for. Already reeling from the carnage of the orcish assaults, many draenei responded to these ‘broken’ with horror and revulsion and ostracized them from their already reduced society. These unfortunates were named ‘krokul’, or Broken and were often forced to become hermits… when and if entire tribes were not so stricken. Akama, formerly a priest at the Temple of Karabor, ended up leading an entire tribe of broken.
In their reduced state it would have been fairly easy for Gul’dan to have finished the job, but as was stated above, he didn’t really care about the draenei at all: it was Kil’jaeden that had wanted revenge, and he withdrew his influence, sated at having forced Velen to watch his people die by the myriad myriads. (Yes, I reference Procopius.) Gul’dan found himself much more interested in finding a way to keep his people alive, which not only led to his alliance with Medivh/Sargeras and the opening of the Dark Portal, but gave the remnants of the draenei breathing room. (It also allowed Lost Ones, a tribe of broken further mutated by fel energies, to make their way to Azeroth. To this day Lost Ones can be found in the Swamp of Sorrows and Blasted Lands.)
Velen and his followers hid at the former anchorage of Telredor, and Akama lead his Ashtongue tribe of broken. The former Vindicator Nobundo walked the land attempting to reconnect with the Holy Light that he had lost when he was one of the few survivors of the massacre at Shattrath. Then Ner’zhul tore Draenor apart, and created Outland, the shattered ruin of the once lush planet. In the aftermath of his action the draenei actually seemed to recover somewhat, as not only did the orcs have more pressing matters (like pure survival) to occupy them, but the Naaru of the Shat’tar faction arrived at Draenor in what would be known as Tempest Keep as well, to try and lead resistance to the Burning Legion. Together with the Aldor, they helped reclaim and rebuild Shattrath from the charnel pit the Horde left behind.
The coming of Illidan to Outland brought change that aided and yet also harmed the draenei. Akama and his tribe of broken allied with Illidan and helped him close the portals and reclaim the Black Temple (formerly the Temple of Karabor) from the pit lord Magtheridon but Illidan’s ally Kael’thas Sunstrider led a force of blood elves to seize control of Tempest Keep while the Naaru were occupied helping the Aldor at Shattrath, seizing M’uru in the process. This led Velen to determine that the time was at hand to leave Outland once and for all. With Nobundo having returned to Telredor and demonstrated that the draenei affinity for magic extended itself to the elemental and ancestral spirits of the land that the orcs had abandoned to chase after fel magic, Velen began to believe in the words of an old prophecy of his and took direct action for the first time in decades. A force of draenei and broken stormed Tempest Keep, managed to commandeer one of the four satellite structures, and escaped Outland, although not without sabotage from the blood elves loyal to Kael’thas.
A starting draenei PC picks up his story from this point: the Exodar, the crashed satellite of the Naaru dimensional fortress sabotaged by Kael’thas’ servants, has ripped a hole in the Twisting Nether and arrived on Azeroth, crashing into islands loosely controlled by the Kaldorei. A starting player gets to experience the aftermath, as injuries are tended to, the new world is explored, contact is made with the Alliance and eventually a great threat is dealt with, earning the respect of the draenei people.
The draenei, led by Velen, provide the Alliance with their real foothold back into Outland, while Nobundo’s teaching allows the draenei to tap into the same spirit magic as their enemies in the Horde. It seems that the draenei are in an expansionist phase now, as their presence can be felt in settlements in Ashenvale, in ambassadors sent to Stormwind and Aerie Peak, and even in Northrend where they work to root out corruption. They’re done running. Velen took part in the final banishment of Kil’jaeden and the restoration of M’uru, and in so doing re-created the Sunwell, proving that the draenei can do good even to those who have only offered evil to them. Survivors who have touched the Holy Light, heard the spirit’s call from their desertion and answered, and worked magic unlike any people before them have joined with allies to ensure that what happened to Draenor will not happen to Azeroth.
Blizzard provides loads of information for their plans in Cataclysm. We have learned about changes to the stat systems as well as talent trees. Everything announced affect many aspects of the game and will be incredibly far reaching.
Let’s check out another set of changes that will greatly change the ability of basic campfire in the upcoming expansion. Shall we?
What is basic campfire?
Basic campfire is an ability that is learned when you first train cooking. You only need one rank in cooking so you can start creating a campfire to roast your raw food over. In the process, grant a 4-spirit buff to anyone close by. No materials or reagents are required to create a fire, and you can make one almost anywhere except underwater. Surprisingly, you can you can create one on top of water if you are buffed with Levitate, Water Walking, or Path of Frost. The fire will not inflict any damage if you stand in it; though if you have the non-combat pet Plump Turkey, when it is in range of a basic campfire it will be rush toward the open flame, “sensing its destiny,” and martyr itself for the sake of your stomach.
Basic Campfire has undergone a few changes over the many years of WoW, which includes:
• It’s used to require the tool Flint and Tinder to make. Before Patch 3.0.8, it also required Simple Wood as a reagent.
• Patch 3.0.8 also removed damage dealt to players who got too close to the fire. One comment I found mentioned that players in raids used to start Basic Campfires under afk players as practical jokes.
• Before Patch 3.2.2 Basic Campfire had a cast time of 10 seconds.
• The ability used to be part of a secondary profession, Survival, which was removed before the game went live. The ability involved buffing your party with spirit through the use of campfires and torches. The ability Bright Campfire was the updated version of Basic Campfire.
Blizzard is planning for gears and stats in Catalysm. Many players are starting to panic since this change will dramatically affect how many classes will work. As healing priests, these are the stats we currently use:
The launch of Cataclysm will entirely remove MP5 from the game. That’s one less stat for us to worry about. Spellpower will be gone from gear too, except for on caster weapons. In this way, we can avoid seeing everything as a hunter weapon. A new mechanic, mastery, is added to the game to encourage players to wear gear in their own armor class. It might be irrelevant to us since we are already limited to one armor.
So now the list of stats we’re going to use looks like this:
You will notice that there’s not too much difference. But, the changes will definitely change how stats work, or more specifically the way we prioritize them. It is still too early to tell what priority system we will applying. Here are more changes:
Intellect: With spellpower no longer being available on gear, intellect is where spellpower will be coming from. Currently, intellect increases the size of a priest’s mana pool, and her critical strike rating. While I’m not sure if the crit relationship will remain, Blizzard said that intellect will not provide as much mana to players as it currently does, implying that intellect will still affect the size of mana pools. However, the change means mana pools will not be scaling upward as dramatically as they did from 70 to 80 in Wrath of the Lich King, and mana regeneration will be more important as a result.
Spirit: Blizzard said they are probably going to be reworking the entire mana regeneration system and that spirit will only be found on healing gear from now on. This means it will soon be very easy to pick out healing gear since all cloth with spirit will be specifically made for healing priests. However, it could also mean that it is more difficult to share pieces of gear with your shadow set. Though, it’s a little too early to know.
Stamina: We will be seeing more stamina on gear so that our health pools are more similar to plate wearers. This will make us less vulnerable to random damage, but make healing non-tanks a little more taxing.
They are really dummy-proofing gearing. At least for healers, anyway; dps will still need to account for stats like hit in order to deal damage to bosses. There will be new ways to customize gear or reforging but the new stat system will make it harder for players to end up with the wrong base pieces in Cataclysm. Picking the right gear won’t be as important as knowing how to properly tune it for your needs.
The changes that Blizaard plans to put into effect can lead players into thinking if we will all look alike in Catalclysm. Also, if the difficulty of gearing is going to go down then the difficulty of raiding in general, apart from mana regen and healing, go up. Time will only tell if more tough content will be added in Cataclysm.
Nothing can be very handy as key spells essential to your success as healer along with most iconic spells. The restoration talent tree is versatile and very strong. Augment and boost your existing ability with the use of these talents.
You can move the points around as you fit. Restoration talents that are in bold are considered expendable. Talents that are in italics are ones that are more PvP centric thus have limited application in PvE.
• Improved Healing Wave: Five points invested in this talent can go a long way. A half second reduction on your big heal can be the difference between a tank dying and causing a wipe or saving the day.
• Totemic Focus: Reducing the cost of casting them is not as important as it used to be. You can ignore this talent, we will be spending these points elsewhere.
• Improved Reincarnation: The talent is useful when soloing and leveling, but otherwise the points are better spent elsewhere.
• Healing Grace: This is primarily used in PvP but there are some mobs that do purge your buffs off of players. It is highly suggested to ignore this talent unless you plan to do some PvP.
• Tidal Focus: 5% reduction in the cost of your healing spells can count for quite a bit. As a class that lives global cool down to global cool down, reducing the cost of your healing spells by any amount will be beneficial for you in the long run.
• Improved Water Shield: Every single one of your healing spells has a chance to trigger this upon gaining a critical heal. This talent is essential to your mana returns, the more you cast, the more you crit the more mana you receive from this talent.
• Healing Focus: If you find yourself suffering a lot of push back on your spell casts, this talent is worth picking up.
• Tidal Force: Being able to to increase the critical strike potential of your Lesser Healing Wave, Healing wave and Chain Heal every three minutes is amazing. This talent is perfect for when bosses hit soft enrages or there is gobs of raid damage that needs to be healed through. Don’t leave home without it.
• Ancestral Healing: This talent reduces the physical damage done to a target by 10% whenever you critically heal them. Any damage reduction to the raid will only increase survivability and is well worth the talent point investment.
• Restorative Totems: You are likely to have one of these two totems down at any given point in time, anything that increases their effectiveness is helpful to you. This is a must have talent.
• Tidal Mastery: This talent gives all your healing spells an additional 5% critical strike chance. This is another staple talent. It has a direct impact on your healing output and there is no reason not to take it.
• Healing Way: This can be extremely useful when you need to tank heal or for fights that can call for large nuke heals on a target in order to survive.
• Nature’s Swiftness: The talent has had it’s cooldown reduced by one minute down to two minutes. This allows you to turn any of our heals into an emergency heal as well as allows you more mobility on fights where you are forced to move but still need to lay down some larger heals.
• Focused Mind: While some fights may benefit from this in PvE, there are not enough encounters that silence or disrupt you that can justify taking this talent.
• Purification: This talent increases your overall healing by 10% if you put the full five points in. This is a must have talent as it does nothing but help your healing output.
• Nature’s Guardian:This talent remains primarily a PvP talent. The points are better spent elsewhere.
• Mana Tide Totem: This talent allows for you to recover almost a full quarter of your maximum mana in 12 seconds. Not only does it allow you to recover your own mana, but anyone in party with you will gain back the same amount of mana. No resto shaman toolkit is complete without this.
• Cleanse Spirit: This talent allows you the ability to cleanse curses, diseases and poison all with one spell. This makes you more versatile and is a must have talent for any restoration talent build.
• Blessing of the Eternals: This talent does two very important things. First, it increases your spell critical chances by 4% and increases the chances of applying the Earthliving Weapon heal over time effect by 80% when the target of your heals is at or under 35% health. This comes in very handy on fights where the raid can potentially take a lot of damage
• Improved Chain Heal: This talent does nothing but augment what is arguably our strongest heal. That 20% healing increase scales as you increase your gear and spell power. There is no reason not to take this talent.
• Nature’s Blessing: This directly increases your healing output and scales with gear. This is a must have.
• Ancestral Awakening: Every time you gain a critical heal with Riptide or either healing wave, this will heal someone for 30% of the amount healed. This is a free heal no reason not to take it.
• Earth Shield: A shaman iconic spell, this talent is a must have for every restoration shaman.
• Improved Earth Shield: Another must have, this makes Earth Shield so much more effective.
• Tidal Waves: This talent gives both of your healing waves a boost whenever you cast Riptide or Chain Heal. This talent does nothing but help increase your healing output, and should always receive a full five talent points.
• Riptide: This talent and spell has become a staple of shaman healing. This talent works to proc many of your other talents, is instant cast and gives you a heal over time. You will be using this spell quite frequently and you should pick it up as soon as possible.
• Ancestral Knowledge: This talent increases your overall int, and has amazing synergy with Nature’s Blessing. This is a must have.
• Thundering Strikes: This talent gives you another 5% crit with full five points invested. Since all your best abilities benefit from critical heals, this talent is a must have.
• Improved Shields: This talent allows you to gain more mana from your Water Shield as well as increasing the healing amount of Earth Shield. This is something no restoration shaman should be without.
• Elemental Weapon: This talent augments the healing bonus of your Earthliving Weapon by an additional 30%, but the points can be used elsewhere if necessary.
As you can see we have a multitude of very useful talents that help to flush out our small list of heals into an impressive tool set.
Here is a list of restoration specific glyphs.
• Glyph of Chain Heal
• Glyph of Earth Shield
• Glyph of Earthliving Weapon
• Glyph of Healing Stream Totem
• Glyph of Healing Wave
• Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave
• Glyph of Mana Tide Totem
• Glyph of Riptide
• Glyph of Water Mastery
• Glyph of Renewed Life
• Glyph of Water Shield
The most common choices for major glyphs among beginner shaman are Glyph of Chain Heal, Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and Glyph of Water Mastery. There is actually some pretty solid reasoning behind this.
Water Shield currently gives a passive bonus of 100 MP/5 whenever it’s active. With the Glyph of Water Mastery this becomes 130 MP/5. A lot of beginning shaman struggle with mana consumption and every little bit helps as you work to earn the gear you need. 30 MP/5 might not seem like a lot, but in a two minute fight that turns 2400 mana into 3120 mana gained. That can be the additional mana needed to keep the tank or the party alive, and all the difference between a wipe and a win.
Glyph of Chain Heal is very common among all levels of restoration shaman whether beginners or experienced raiders. The glyph adds an additional target to chain heal extending it’s reach from three to four. That means in most heroics, depending on positioning, you may be able to hit the entire party with one heal. This continues to be useful in the end game as increasing the number of targets healed by your Chain Heal can help get that little bit of extra healing on clusters of melee and ranged.
Glyph of Healing Stream Totem is often times overlooked, but is actually very useful. Restoration shaman can use Healing Stream Totem in many situations. There are several fights that force you to move or can temporarily incapacitate you both in raids and heroics. No matter what happens to you (short of dying) this totem will keep healing not just one target, but your entire party. The totem scales with your spell power so trinket procs and temporary consumables will affect it as well. Beginner shaman has found the use of this totem with the glyph to be helpful in evening out raid wide damage and assisting their healing.
As you progress in gear and start to define your role you may start looking at other glyphs. Glyphs should be used to fill in gaps and strengthen your weak points, or to augment your abilities to get that little extra out of them. Some may be situational useful and others may not be worth your time at all. Lets say you find yourself casting nothing but Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave, those two glyphs may be more useful to you than Glyph of Chain Heal. It’s all about finding what is most useful to you and the role you choose to play.
NetEase gets the approval of the General Administration of Press and Publication to sign off on launch of Burning Crusade.
The Burning Crusade is set off to widen its journey in China. The initial rejection in November didn’t stop NetEase to seek another attempt to earn the approval in China. The company has announced that China’s General Administration of Press and Publication has approved its application to localize the first World of Warcraft expansion.
The game had its first rejection last year. It was just one part of a GAPP crackdown on World of Warcraft’s local operator. The regulatory agency said NetEase operates Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game without proper approval in the country due to “gross violations” of local laws.
Roth Capital Partners analyst Adam Krejcik blamed the revocation on a dispute between China’s Ministry of Culture and GAPP, which had been intensifying the clamp down on online gaming.
GAPP officials took action by ordering NetEase to stop charging players to the game in China and halted acceptance of any new registrations. NetEase has not commented if the said issues with GAPP have been resolved or when registrations and regular charging practices might be resumed.
Care to know how arcane can help advance your character? We hope you got the basic primer you need in the world of arcane mages.
1. What is arcane?
This tree is found at the leftmost of the three mage specs. It focuses on magic that is neither fiery nor frosted. It is current single-target pure DPS champ in terms of mage specs go.
2. Arcane Benefits
• Extremely high damage
• Simple rotation
• Low hit cap
• Provides good raid utility
• Missile Barrage is awesome
3. Arcane drawbacks
• Highly dependent on timely procs for mana efficiency
• Cannot sustain highest DPS rotation
• Rotation is fairly boring
• Sub-par AoE
4. Stats to look for
You don’t ever really need to actively seek intellect and stamina out since they will be on just about every item you get. Spell power generally won’t be that big of a deal but then you can never have too much spell power. • Spell power. The benefits of arcane differ from spell power by a large margin. Other stats may decrease in value as you get more of them. Spell power, however, will always be spell power. The bottom line is that gaining spell power will increase your DPS, no matter what.
• Haste. This decreases the cast time of your spells. Haste is a good thing because Arcane Blast takes forever to cast, that requires you have to stand still to cast it. More Arcane Blasts in less time means more mobility, more Missile Barrage procs, faster global cool downs on all your spells, and less time spent channeling things like Evocation and Arcane Missiles.
• Crit rating. This increases the percentage chance that your spell casts will critically strike. Arcane isn’t nearly as crit-dependent as other specs, and you will get most of what you need here from the gear you already had. • Hit rating. This increases your chance to hit monsters that is extremely important when fighting raid bosses. It is because raid bosses are considered to be three levels higher than you. The cap for a properly talented arcane is 289. You need that exact number, no more, no less. • The priority order here is hit (until capped), spell power (always), haste, and then crit. Intellect is the next most valuable stat, especially given arcane’s talents. But then you will generally have enough of it on your gear already.
5. Stats to avoid
Stats is not that bad but you don’t need to actively search for them either. • Spirit. This increases your out-of-combat mana regen rate, your in-combat regen rate if you use Mage Armor or have Arcane Meditation, and the crit rating bonus granted by Molten Armor. • Mp5. Not a mage stat. We have no talents that increase it, and more than enough other ways to conserve or regain mana. If your group’s pally gives you Blessing of Wisdom instead of Kings, politely ask him to reconsider.
6. Typical PvE talent setup
There are a lot of quality arcane specs out there that vary quite substantially. Below is a common cookie-cutter spec. There are multiple ways to tweak it, but I’d advise against putting anything less than 51 points into the arcane tree. Though Arcane Barrage doesn’t fit into an optimal arcane rotation, it has a lot of situational uses that would be impossible to replace. No 21 point talent in either of the other trees is worth losing it for.
7. Talent overview
Arcane • Arcane Subtlety: The point here is solely for the sake of threat reduction, though you can easily justify two if aggro is an issue for you. • Arcane Focus: This is mandatory for the hit increase. The mana cost reduction is just gravy. • Arcane Stability: Though you can argue for taking a full 5 points here for encounters in which you are likely to get smacked around a bit, generally 3 points is going to be enough. If you’re confident in your ability to not get hit, these points can be redistributed elsewhere. Still, nothing hurts like a fully stacked Missile Barrage/Arcane Missiles getting cut down before its time. So young. So full of promise. Such a waste. • Arcane Concentration: This is a mana conservation tool (nothing’s as delicious as a free 4-stack Arcane Blast), and a substantial DPS increase through Arcane Potency later on. • Magic Attunement: The benefit here is the extra range, which is crucial in a large number of encounters. • Spell Impact: Flat damage increase to Arcane Blast, my primary nuke? Yes please. • Focus Magic: Put this on a holy pally and see if he doesn’t subconsciously throw a few more heals your way that normal. Oh, and the near-constant extra crit you’ll be enjoying is nice too. • Arcane Meditation: Extra mana regen. If this isn’t a problem for you, you can consider placing these points differently. • Torment the Weak: In a raid setting, there will always be a slowing effect on your target in one form or another. This talent provides a very significant damage increase for the points.
• Presence of Mind: For one point, you’re getting an instant Arcane Blast often enough to be worthwhile. Also, you have to take this to open up four other talents you want. • Arcane Mind: The extra intellect becomes more important later in the tree, and this increase is substantial for the points.
• Arcane Instability: 3% damage and 3% crit chance? That’s a lot of awesome in just 3 talent points. • Arcane Potency: This giant 30% crit chance, between PoM uses and Arcane Concentration procs, will pop up regularly. • Arcane Empowerment: This talent was never bad, but now it’s unmitigated awesome. The fat damage increase to your two primary spells is enough all by itself to make this talent mandatory, but the added raid damage buff on all of your crits sends it to a whole other place. A place where everybody does more damage. • Arcane Power: The old, reliable DPS increaser for those burn-down moments when you absolutely must make something dead right frigging now. • Arcane Floes: This cuts the downtime on your two major DPS cool down buttons, but also reduces your Evocation cool down to a meager two minutes, making you the envy of other mages everywhere. • Mind Mastery: This not only provides you with extra spell power (always a good thing), it allows that bonus spell power to scale along with your gear as you progress through content.
• Missile Barrage: Yay.
• Nether wind Presence: 6% haste is a whole lot, and arcane needs it.
• Spell Power: That 50% crit damage buff is meaty. • Arcane Barrage: This is your tree-capper, and though it only truly shines in PvP, you’ll find it invaluable for getting rid of Arcane Blast stacks when Missile Barrage refuses to proc, and in any fight where you have to stay mobile. Plus, it looks pretty. Fire • Incineration: 6% crit chance to your primary nuke. More than worth the 3 point excursion to the fire tree.
Frost • Frostbite: Spoiler alert: this talent isn’t the reason you’re going into the frost tree. I know. Crazy, right? • Ice Floes: This is actually nice for a number of reasons. And that number is two. First, it means you can Ice Block more often, which translates to fewer gruesome painful deaths. Second, it reduces the cool down of Icy Veins, which is much of the purpose for spending these points in the frost tree anyway. • Ice Shards: Wave goodbye to these talent points…you won’t be seeing them again. But they have to go somewhere. This is as good a place as any. • Precision: Ah, now here’s the first reason we detoured into this tree. This, coupled with Arcane Focus, gives you full 6% hit chance purely from talents, which gives arcane the lowest effective hit cap of all mage specs. • Icy Veins: And this is the second. Icy Veins will pop up every couple of minutes, and when coupled with Arcane Power provides you with a phenomenal burn-down button. The pure joy you’ll feel when you pop this, the Shaman pops Bloodlust, and your Arcane Blasts come out as fast as you can spam them for 20 seconds, is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.
8. Leveling as arcane
This is a comparatively bad idea until you get to level 64 and finally obtain your spec’s primary spell, Arcane Blast. When I die, I will ask Jesus why Blizzard refuses to make this spell available earlier to the spec that relies upon it. Then the good lord will look down upon me and say, “LTP nub.” But barring divine wisdom (or a blue post) bestowing upon me the answer, I suppose I will have to settle for my current state of perpetual bafflement.
It’s not that arcane mage leveling is terrible, just that you’ll have an infinitely easier time of it if you spec frost or fire instead. Arcane’s best spells don’t come until much later in the game. Does 60+ levels of using untalented Fireball/Frostbolt as your primary DPS spell sound good to you? No? That’s cool; you can always spam Arcane Missiles I guess. Because until you hit level 60 and can finally take Arcane Barrage, that’s your sole tree-specific damage spell. Have fun with that.
Arcane leveling can be done, but it’s simply not a lot of fun for the majority of the game. Switch to it at level 64, though, and you’ll have a great time from Outland through Northrend. If you insist upon doing it, then talent your way down the arcane tree first, because you’ll want Arcane Barrage as soon as possible, and make certain you fully talent into Arcane Stability right away. You’ll want to make sure your Arcane Missiles are uninterruptible ASAP. Prismatic Cloak is another must-have leveling talent. Nothing saves a mage’s life like instant Invisibility.
I’ve recently written an entire series on mage leveling, so visit that if you want a more comprehensive guide.
9. Your basic arcane rotation
Arcane’s max DPS rotation is actually pretty simple: spam Arcane Blast forever. This will kill everything. Unfortunately, it will also kill your mana pool. It’s an unsustainable rotation.
Your actual rotation should look like this: Arcane Blast x 4–>Missile Barrage+Arcane Missiles–>repeat. Missile Barrage is the key here. If it doesn’t proc after 4 Arcane Blasts, you have a choice. You can either get rid of the stack with an Arcane Barrage (also the best choice if you need to move), or cast another Arcane Blast in the hopes of finally proccing Missile Barrage. This can be rough on your mana pool, so you have to choose judiciously based on the current state of your mana and the time left in the encounter.
Use Arcane Power, Icy Veins, and Presence of Mind pretty much every time they’re up, and when you run out of mana. The fact that you run out of mana should not happen often if you are a conservative user of your Arcane Blast spam and Missile Barrage. In fact, if you can, it can pay to time an Evocation along with Icy Veins or a Bloodlust pop by the Shaman.
For AoE: Arcane AoE sucks. Your best AoE spell is Arcane Explosion, which requires you to
A.) be in the middle of lots of things that like to eat mages, and
B.) burn through mana like nobody’s business.
In this case, you’re better off standing at range and spamming Blizzard. Your AoE DPS is going to stink but again no one really cares about that.
The TL: DR version is below: • Gem for spell power first, second, third, and always, if you can help it.
• It’s largely a bad idea to gem for intellect, spirit, or crit. You have plenty of all of those stats already.
• Gemming for haste is defensible, but you’re still almost always going to be better off with a spell power gem in the same slot.
• Your meta should be the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond.
• Unless the slot bonus is spell power, don’t worry about matching slot colors. Just gem for spell power and call it a day.
11. Enchants for endgame
It lists the best enchants for every slot, plus some low-cost alternatives for those tight on the budget.
12. Glyphs • 1st major slot: Arcane Blast. It’s a flat DPS increase, which is always nice in a glyph. • 2nd major slot: Arcane Missiles. Another nice DPS increase provided by this one. • 3rd major slot: Use this slot to glyph your armor spell of choice. If you need mana, go with Mage Armor. If you don’t, go with Molten Armor.
The following realms will be undergoing emergency maintenance today from 2:00 a.m. PST / 5:00 a.m. EST until 7:00 a.m. PST / 10 a.m. EST. The maintenance is underway to resolve performance issues on most of the realms.